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I Was A Young Man

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The Back Cover

trad. arr. The Albion Country Band

I Was A Young Man

I was a young man, I was a rover
Nothing would satisfy me but a wife
Soon as I reached the age of twenty
Weary was I of a single life

The very first year my wife I married
Out of her company I could not stay
Her voice was sweet as the lark or the linnet
Or the nightingale at the break of day

Now she's fairly altered her meaning
Now she's fairly changed her tune
Nothing but scolding comes from her mouth
So the poor man's labour's never done

The very first year that we were married
Scarce could I get one half hour's sleep
With her two heels she rubbed my shins
Cries husband dear, put down your feet

The baby cried, she bitterly scolded
Down to the door I was forced for to run
Without trousers, wig or a waistcoat
The poor man's labour's never done

I went up to the top of the hill
For to view me sheep that had all gone astray
When I came back she was lying in her bed
At twelve o'clock on a winter's day

When I came back both wet and weary
Weary and wet now where could I run
She was lying in her bed the fire up beside her
She said young man is the kettle on

I'll go home to my aged mother
She'll be sitting all alone
Says there's plenty young women to be had
Why should I be tied to one

All young men that is to marry
Though they'll grieve you ever more
Death o death, come take my wife
And then my sorrows will be o'er

Martin Carthy commented on this song:
"The capacity to work things out to everybody's satisfaction is sadly lacking in I Was a Young Man where the unfortunate husband, dominated from the start, begs Death to come in as a release. Her Death."
(Duncan collection of songs from NE Scotland).

 
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